Jan 152013
 

So called, as a bunch of the stems of Ruscus aculeatus were tied together and used by butchers to sweep their wooden chopping blocks. The cladodes have a pin point end. Putting a hand into the plant will result in shredded skin so sharp are the spines. These cladodes resemble leaves attached to the main stem but are an adaptation, (the leaf is held at the base of the cladodes), in the centres of which are the flowers. The bright red, two or more seeded fruit is held here. This plant colonising a shaded border beneath a woody canopy is hermaphrodite, bearing both male and female flowers, hence the good crop of berries. Other plants may be separately male or female. A monocot, in the family Ruscaceae, the cladodes have sweeping linear veins.

Ruscus aculeatus (hermaphrodite). Photo by Tony Garn

Ruscus aculeatus (hermaphrodite)

Ruscus aculeatus (hermaphrodite). Photo by Tony Garn

Ruscus aculeatus (hermaphrodite)

Ruscus aculeatus - cladodes and fruits. Photo by Tony Garn

Ruscus aculeatus – cladodes and fruits